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3-slot Graphics Cards in Crossfire

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Crossfire
  • Components
  • PCI Express
Last response: in Components
September 12, 2013 6:01:31 AM

Hey! I currently have an Asus 7970 DirectCU 2, and I'm debating on getting a second one. Only problem is that the 7970's are 3-slot cards, and often they are cramped together because of the PCI-E spacing on the motherboard. When they sit so tight together it ruins the airflow, especially for the top card. The Asrock Z77 Extreme3 has enormous spacing between the 1st and the 3rd PCI e slots. Is it possible to fit 1 card in the 1st and 1 card in the 3rd slot?
My CM HAF X has 9 pci slots.
Thanks in advance!

More about : slot graphics cards crossfire

a c 1646 U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 6:09:49 AM

The 3rd slot is PCIe ver 2 at X4 speed so I would not recommend it. People have successfully CFed 3 slot cards with the 3 slot spacing between the top two slots. With a side intake fan they should have sufficient cooling.
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a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 6:11:57 AM

TheErkish said:
Hey! I currently have an Asus 7970 DirectCU 2, and I'm debating on getting a second one. Only problem is that the 7970's are 3-slot cards, and often they are cramped together because of the PCI-E spacing on the motherboard. When they sit so tight together it ruins the airflow, especially for the top card. The Asrock Z77 Extreme3 has enormous spacing between the 1st and the 3rd PCI e slots. Is it possible to fit 1 card in the 1st and 1 card in the 3rd slot?
My CM HAF X has 9 pci slots.
Thanks in advance!


The 3rd slot on that board is PCI-E 2.0 4x. You could use it but you will see a bottleneck due to bandwidth restrictions. If that wasn't enough of an issue, finding a crossfire bridge long enough to cover that gap could be a pain haha.

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a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 6:36:42 AM

Nice GPU and it's understandable that you would want a space between two in crossfire.

But wow, what a messed up board! I'm just looking at the manual now.
http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77%20Extreme3/?cat=Manu...

It only shows that top slot(PCIe3) being used for tri-crossfire. Plus a standard bridge connector would never span that distance anyway(PCIe1 to PCIe3).

A high end Asus ROG board would be great in your case and give the proper spacing. But with the cost involved, that is likely out of the question. You could wait till the 25th and see what the AMD party in Hawaii brings... the successor to the 7970 will be released.
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September 12, 2013 7:26:50 AM

It will work, I happen to have the same graphics cards. Yeah the top one rose by like 20 degrees (from 60 to 80) but it is still reasonably safe. I used the crossfire bridge included and it works great. My case is an Antec 902 V3 with medium fan speeds. Don't worry, they are really 2.5 width cards so there is space for the top card to breathe.
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September 12, 2013 8:06:44 AM

Thanks for the answers!

The Asrock board was just a suggestion, I haven't bought it or anything. I've seen many high-end and quad sli/crossfire board where they've used the 1st and the 3rd slots, giving 1 slot between them.
Only problem is that I don't want to spend THAT much money on a motherboard. Do you guys have a suggestion for a cheaper board?
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a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 9:07:43 AM

TheErkish said:
Thanks for the answers!

The Asrock board was just a suggestion, I haven't bought it or anything. I've seen many high-end and quad sli/crossfire board where they've used the 1st and the 3rd slots, giving 1 slot between them.
Only problem is that I don't want to spend THAT much money on a motherboard. Do you guys have a suggestion for a cheaper board?


This one would work perfectly, as long as you can find a crossfire bridge long enough for the gap. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The 3rd slot is PCI-E 2.0 16x which is more than enough for a pair of 7970's. Hope this helps!
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September 12, 2013 9:27:22 AM

Zero Cool said:
TheErkish said:
Thanks for the answers!

The Asrock board was just a suggestion, I haven't bought it or anything. I've seen many high-end and quad sli/crossfire board where they've used the 1st and the 3rd slots, giving 1 slot between them.
Only problem is that I don't want to spend THAT much money on a motherboard. Do you guys have a suggestion for a cheaper board?


This one would work perfectly, as long as you can find a crossfire bridge long enough for the gap. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The 3rd slot is PCI-E 2.0 16x which is more than enough for a pair of 7970's. Hope this helps!


Do you think that the crossfire brigde that came with the card isn't long enough?
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a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 10:13:24 AM

TheErkish said:
Zero Cool said:
TheErkish said:
Thanks for the answers!

The Asrock board was just a suggestion, I haven't bought it or anything. I've seen many high-end and quad sli/crossfire board where they've used the 1st and the 3rd slots, giving 1 slot between them.
Only problem is that I don't want to spend THAT much money on a motherboard. Do you guys have a suggestion for a cheaper board?


This one would work perfectly, as long as you can find a crossfire bridge long enough for the gap. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The 3rd slot is PCI-E 2.0 16x which is more than enough for a pair of 7970's. Hope this helps!


Do you think that the crossfire brigde that came with the card isn't long enough?


I've got the same card, let me check mine real quick.
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a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2013 10:15:06 AM

You know what, I think it is long enough. I just held it up to my 7970 and it looks like it reaches down to that 3rd PCI-E slot. Good call!
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March 15, 2014 1:04:42 AM

Bringing up a fairly old thread here, but I actually bought a MSI Z77A-G45 extremely cheap. Unfortunatly, it was the non "Gaming" version, where the 3 pci-e slot is wired in gen 2 4x speed. Uggh... Anyway, thx for all the help
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